WHAT: The nation’s top naturopathic physicians are convening at the Oregon Convention Center to discuss the latest developments in complementary and alternative medicine, and hold their annual convention.WHEN & WHERE: The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) (www.Naturopathic.org) is holding its 21st Annual Convention & Exhibition August 9-12, 2006 at the Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR. New research presentations will be offered on a daily basis throughout the conference.
WHY: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate that in the United States, 36 percent of adults are using some form of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). A growing number of Americans are turning to naturopathic care to replace or augment the care they receive from conventional medical practitioners. A 2004 patient survey conducted by the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) found that the primary reason the respondents sought naturopathic treatment was to gain an added sense of control over their health.
Naturopathic medicine is not new. Hipocrates, a physician who lived some 2400 years ago, is considered the earliest practitioner of naturopathic care. His teachings emphasized “nature is healer of all diseases” from which he created the concept vis medicatrix naturae, the “healing power of nature.” This concept has been at the core of medicine in many cultures and is a central theme of naturopathic physician care in America.
Conventional and naturopathic care differ in three important ways. First, in conventional medical care, each condition requires its own specialist and types of medication. By contrast, naturopathic medical care treats the entire person, not just the “complaint.” Prescription medication is not generally used. Secondly, naturopathic physicians believe that prevention is the best cure. Finally, the cornerstone of naturopathic medical care is the belief that the body can do a great deal to heal itself and return it to its optimum state. Restoring the body’s health is done in conjunction with natural therapies such as botanical medicine, homeopathy, nutritional supplements (nutraceuticals), lifestyle changes, acupuncture, counseling and sometimes prescription drugs. Naturopathic doctors are unique in that they have been trained in the medical and diagnostic sciences like their MD and DO counterparts. In addition, they have been trained in these natural therapies and integrate all of these methods to find the best treatment mix for each patient.
Members of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians are the best-trained naturopathic physicians in the United States. They have graduated from an accredited naturopathic medical school, passed a professional board exam, and abide by a rigorous code of ethics. In 14 states and the District of Columbia, they are required to pass a licensing exam in order to practice.
This year’s meeting will offer more numerous updates on treatments for disease.